Commentators v Referees
Bobby Skinstad during a commentary stint
Referee Jaco Peyper
The past weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby Semi-final between the Vodacom Bulls and ACT Brumbies as well as the promotion/relegation game between the Southern Kings and MTN Lions were marred by commentators and studio experts from Super Sport critiquing the referees on various of the calls that were made on the field.
The Kings v Lions game particular saw or shall I say heard Bobby Skinstad pointing out every mistake referee Jaco Peyper made when he awarded a scrum, penalty or free-kick to the Lions. His biggest call was the last pass before the Lions’ second try. Bobby said to all that was listening that the pass was at least a metre forward. Replays showed that it was at most a flat pass, but Janties’ hands were moving back as he released the ball. According to the rules and laws of rugby this is not a forward pass. That left there. Bobby sounded more like a PR manager for the Kings than a commentator.
Most commentators will comment on the mistakes that the referee is making and in some instances even call on the referee not to be biased. They must however listen to themselves and their colleagues. Commentators are the most biased people in rugby. Especially the ones working for South African broadcasters. You know that when certain commentators are doing duty with a certain team playing, that you might as well not listen. Joost use to be very pro-Bulls. Kobus Wiese is again a Lions man. Joel Stransky will favour the Sharks and so the list goes on. This I can however still stomach.
What I can’t stand is when a commentator like Bobby starts to critique the referee and then get the calls wrong themselves. The referee indicates what transgressions of the rule has been committed with hand signals and then also tells the captain what happened.
Showing this while saying: “Diving over the ball.” Will in most cases be interpreted as entering from the side or just going of the feet by commentators.
Understand me correctly: Referees do make mistakes and they should be accountable for them. But before you start showing out their mistakes, make sure you know the rules or at least listen to what the referee is saying and follow his hand signals. That way you might get the call right and then realise that he actually penalised a team for the correct infringement and not what you though it might have been.
Supporters listen to commentators and experts and they will go with what they are saying as the gosperl of rugby. Yet most of these so called rugby disciples are nothing more than false profits as they know even less than most followrs.